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SCAMS you should be aware of

April 20, 2012

SCAMS you should be aware of

Parcel Delivery Scam

Dropping parcel delivery cards through letter box and asking them to call a number to arrange redelivery of parcel, but the number is premium rate.

Bank Scam

Phoning the elderly and acting as Bank workers and asking for their Banking details.

Gas and Electricity scams to avoid:

What is sit they say “If it looks too good to be true then it usually is”. But even so, we still fall victim to such ploys and scams every year. Even worse, the newest scam and tricks could cost you a lot more than just your cash.

So let’s familiarise ourselves with the scams and know how to avoid them.

Bogus energy-saving gadgets

It emerged last week that telephone fraudsters have been targeting elderly people by offering them bogus and potentially hazardous and unsafe energy-saving gadgets.

The scammers call their target (usually the elderly) and say they are calling from their utilities supplier and tell their target that the £99 plug-in gadget can reduce their utility bills by as much as 40% even 50%. But the truth is that the devices provide no savings whatsoever and the gadgets could even result in fire or electrocution.

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is currently dealing with hundreds of complaints about such fake goods.

So far 4 prominent and fraudulent suppliers have been identified:

1 Stop Marketing Solutions

ITC Development Corp

Power Saver

Athico Ltd

However it is believed that there are significantly more bogus companies. Additionally, some of these bogus names adopt and use trading names that sound or are similar to genuine Utility suppliers.

The Trading Standards Institute is advising anybody who has responded to a bogus energy-saving cold calls to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.org.uk or get in touch with Consumer Direct on 0845 4040506. They should also contact their bank to cancel any direct debits and, if an energy saving gadget has been received in the post, then to dispose of it carefully.

Free energy scam sites

The Trading Standards Institute also advised consumers to be very cautious particularly when handing out their personal or financial information, especially if they are targeted by a cold caller.

As the rising gas and electricity prices have encouraged these bogus energy scammers to up their game to capitalise on the general public’s desire and need to cut their utility bills. The bogus plug-in gadget is just the latest fraud call used by these cold callers.

However, the ideal platform of the modern day energy scammer is online. As the internet has thousands of websites that offer such gadgets and methods that apparently drastically cut your energy usage – but don’t.

There are some clear signs that can help you spot and identify a fraudulent website:

    Obviously a degree of common sense is needed when looking into energy-saving websites. Take the plug-gadget in question. Why would a device that can trim your energy bill by 40%-50% be selling for just £49.99?

    You should also be critical of any relatively unknown websites that seem to offer “to good to be true” mass-market, high in-demand products.

    Ask yourself why this ‘company’ is so small if the deal they are offering you is such an excellent deal and value for money.

Make sure you always do your research: Check out the company, to find out if it has a good track record and reputation. Speak to any of the Consumer groups shown above, visit relevant online forums to find out and establish experiences of other people. Also check that the company has an actual, real telephone number and contact address before paying any money.

For example if the website webpages are long, winding and poorly made, and the copy is badly spelt with poor grammar and spelling mistakes you should be very suspicious.

Door-to-door sales people

Most Utility providers have now stopped carrying out all door-to-door sales campaigns. Their move away from this form of sale is based on mounting pressure from consumer groups such as Which and Consumer Focus.  Ideally, just ignore door-to-door salespeople to avoid any form of pressure sales tactics.